Tone. It’s the word that’s been haunting any and all discussion about the DC Extended Universe since Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice came out back in March. With the critical blowback, not to mention the weaker than expected box office, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment have gone on a charm offensive as if to say, “Don’t worry! The rest of these movies won’t be as dark as this!” While we may be dubious of the intentions of Zack Snyder with Justice League, perhaps other filmmakers will have better luck convincing the audience that the DCEU can be bright and shiny too. James Wan, for instance, he has some very particular inspiration in mind for his Aquaman movie.
“I kind of don’t want to give too much away but know this — the spirit that I’m going for is like a classic sort of swashbuckling action adventure, sort of high seas adventure story,” Wan told Entertainment Tonight in a recent interview. “It’s ultimately a quest story in the spirit of Raiders of the Lost Ark meets Romancing the Stone.”
That’s interesting. Not the Raiders comment so much since anyone that’s made an adventure movie since 1981 has cited the Steven Spielberg classic as some kind of inspiration, but Romancing the Stone? The 1984 Robert Zemeckis movie about a charming rogue played by Michael Douglas who helps a romance novelist played by Kathleen Turner rescue her kidnapped sister would be the complete antithesis to the tone established for the DCEU in its first three entries so far. It also hints that there will be a playfulness to Aquaman, one kind of belied by Jason Momoa’s rather stern looking brief appearances in BvS and the Justice League trailer. If this is the inspiration Wan is indeed drawing from for Aquaman, then this will be almost lighthearted as compared to many comic book movies, and not just the DC ones. Another reason to get excited about this project, which is based on what’s largely been considered one of comics’ lamest heroes.
Aquaman – starring Momoa as the King of the Seven Seas, Amber Heard as his Queen Mera and Willem Dafoe as royal adviser Vulko – will be in theaters everywhere in July 2018.